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 Works versus Faith (Part 14) – The Kingdom of Heaven (Part 3)

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PostSubject: Works versus Faith (Part 14) – The Kingdom of Heaven (Part 3)   Mon Nov 28, 2016 2:47 pm

Works versus Faith (Part 14) – The Kingdom of Heaven (Part 3)

Today we peak inside of the Kingdom of Heaven (a.k.a. the Kingdom of God).  The only New Testament saints that got to see it besides Jesus were Paul and John.  Paul was commanded not to speak about it.  John was commanded to tell everything he was shown.  Today we will be looking at Revelation 21.  Verse 1 says, “Then I saw a new heaven (or sky) and a New Earth, for the first heaven and the first Earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.”  For those of you who have followed the last post, you saw that God stripped away all of the land, dirt, and ground from this Earth to replace it with new land, dirt, and ground.  The word for “heaven” here is “sky” (though sometimes it is used to refer to the conventional use of “Heaven” that we are accustomed to to refer to the place of God’s Heavenly dwelling); and the word for “earth” means “land.”  I will show later that when God replaces the land with new land that He is going to really pack it on.  He is going to pad the New Earth with much more ground space and greater circumference ratio than this current planet.  It will be a huge, humungous planet.  The first thing we note here is that there is now no longer any sea, or significant water bodies.  Our new bodies will be capable of eating because they will be like Jesus’ resurrected body, and He ate.  But I’m a sea food lover.  Luckily for me, even though there are no longer any significant bodies of water, there will still at least be river beds, so hence, still a high chance that God will supply me with all of my favorite sea food delicacies throughout eternity, and hopefully some new species to go along with them.  

It is a big deal that there will no longer be any sea or significant water bodies.  This planet is made up of 7 continents and the rest is water.  There is much more real estate for oceans and seas than there is for land for us humans to live on.  In fact, water makes up 70 percent of the surface area of the Earth.  Of the remainder 30 percent of land space, only 30 percent of that is good for farming.  Twenty percent of the land is covered by snow.  Twenty percent of the land is covered by mountainous regions.  And 10 percent does not have good topsoil1.  Inevitably, with such a growing population, currently at 7.4 billion people, we bump shoulders vying for land.  But imagine if this current Earth was made up of, say, 99 percent land (let’s say 1 percent rivers), then this Earth would easily accommodate for much more people than 7.4 billion.  I multiplied 70 percent (the water space) by today’s population of 7.4 billion and got a proportional number of 514 billion that this present Earth could accommodate for if it was mostly land (If I miscalculated, sorry I was never good at math).  That is a lot of people that this current Earth we live on would be able to accommodate; how much more will the New Earth, which is going to be much more massive than this one and without the huge water bodies?

Verse 2 reads, “I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”  Please don’t be confused by that word “heaven”; it simply means “sky.”  What John is going to describe is the Holy City, which is named the New Jerusalem. Please note that God set up the New Earth in verse 1.  So “Heaven” was completely set up in verse 1 except for the New Jerusalem city.  After God sets up Heaven, verse 2 describes the Kingdom of God coming down from the sky to rest on Heaven (that is, the New Earth).  The New Jerusalem city is the Kingdom of Heaven.  It is the place from where God, namely, Jesus, will rule forever and ever.  However, an important note is that the Kingdom of Heaven, or this New Jerusalem city, is not all of Heaven.  That is an important distinction that most Christians miss somehow when they study this.  We will soon see that this Holy City has open gates that lead outside of this city.  The big debate is: Is it Hell that is outside of the gates of the Holy City the New Jerusalem?  Quick rhetorical question: why would “Heaven” have open gates to “Hell”?  No!  The open gates simply lead out to the rest of Heaven: that is, the New Earth, as we will soon see when we get there in this study.

Verse 2 also states that this New Jerusalem city was prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her Husband.  In John 14:2, Jesus says, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.”  Yes, the Greek says “rooms” and not the “mansions” of the King James version.  It wouldn’t make sense to say, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.”  What type of house would have mansions inside of it?  It does make sense to say, “In my Father’s house are many rooms.”  The Old English word for rooms used to be the word “mansions” in the 18th century.  Sorry if you were expecting a mansion in the afterlife.  There is good news however... Why would Jesus say that He has to go to prepare a place for us?  Is He going to build the room Himself with brick and mortar?  John himself said that in the beginning, the Word spoke the Earth and heavens into existence, and this Word was Jesus Christ.  So if all He did was speak and the heavens and Earth were made, how come He has to go and spend time preparing a place for us?  Shouldn’t it be already completed since all He has to do is speak things into existence?  The reason why our rooms are not yet furnished is because the furnishings of our eternal rooms are based on our lifestyles we live today.  Jesus is currently watching us to see what we do and He adds or takes away eternal luxuries from our personal rooms.  I told you there was good news after telling you we won’t have mansions.  If you live in obedience to Jesus and do His commands and His will today, you are storing up for yourselves eternal treasures in “Heaven” that are added to your room.  However, there is bad news that comes with this: if you don’t live obediently to Jesus and refuse to do His will, your eternal room will be an empty one, and maybe even shrunken down to a low class economic apartment room; moreover, as we will soon see, you might even be banned from the Kingdom city altogether, therefore your quarters would be eternally the outside the city gates.  

Since I mentioned John 14:2, just a quick aside: Jesus also says there, “if it were not so, I would have told you.”  With that statement, Jesus confirmed for us all of the Old Testament.  Regarding all of the fanciful sounding stories and miracles that we read in the Old Testament, Jesus said, “if it were not so, I would have told you.”  God really did create the Earth in 7 days.  There really was a worldwide catastrophic flood event that split apart the continents.  Elijah and Elisha really did split the Jordan River just as Moses split the Red Sea and escorted all of the Israelites through it on dry ground.  The 3 Hebrew boys really did dance around in a blazing hot furnace without getting a single burn.  Elijah did raise the dead.  A donkey did speak words.  Job was real.  Satan is real.  God’s laws are holy and Truth as Psalm 119:160 declares.  I’d go on, but you get the point.  If it were not so, Jesus would have told us.  That is one excellent proof that the Bible we have is real: the fact that Jesus confirmed it.  If Jesus is real, the Bible and all of its stories are real.

It’s quite interesting that this Holy City is referred to as a bride.  The Church is often referred to as a bride, and Jesus as the Bridegroom.  Verse 3 reads, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them.  They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.’”  Zechariah 2:10-11 asserts, “‘Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion.  For I am coming, and I will live among you,’ declares the LORD.  ‘Many nations will be joined with the LORD in that day and will become my people.  I will live among you and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you.’” This passage says that there will be a day when YHWH will live with man.  That may just be referring to God in the Person of Jesus Christ—we’ll find out when we get there.  Verse 11 surely refers to Jesus where it says, “I will live among you and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you.”  Isaiah said that Jesus will be called Immanuel, which means “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14).  Another quick aside:  We can right now enjoy Revelation 21:3 (God making His dwelling with us) if we obey Jesus.  John 14:23 says, “Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.  My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.’”  Currently, Heaven is not the New Earth.  It is the place (wherever that is) where God resides.  Jesus says that we can experience that Heaven right now, that bliss and peace, and His presence if we obey Him.  In fact it says that Jesus and the Father will bring Heaven down to you.  But this is a conditional verse which requires obeying and loving Him.  Not all Christians are experiencing Heaven today because they are living in disobedience.  And according to this verse in John, a pattern of consistently disobeying Jesus reveals that you don’t really love Him.  

Revelation 21:4 avers, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  If we really look at the Bible closely, we will see that there is a certain kind of death still going on even throughout eternity.  Yes, I know that death has been swallowed up in victory, and this verse here says that there will be no more death, but this is not my inference, it is what the Bible says that I will show you soon.  First, let’s look at this wiping away of tears.  We are in verse 4 of Heaven and our tears are just now getting wiped away.  They were not wiped away yet in verses 1-3.  Why will there be tears when we get to Heaven?  Some say that these will be tears of rejoicing, but if they are tears of rejoicing, those tears shouldn’t be wiped away.  These tears here are clearly connected to the “death, mourning, crying and pain” referenced in the verse.  God is not going to take away our personalities.  We will always have the ability to rejoice throughout eternity.  The reason for our tears will be many: We will be very cognizant of the many missed opportunities we had in this lifetime in that day.  We will be starkly aware of our sins in that day and understand the true depth of why Jesus had to go to the Cross for us.  There will be tears for those who we realize are not there.  Some will realize that their children did not make it to Heaven.  There will be loved ones who we failed to evangelize to in this lifetime and they will forever be confined to torment in the Lake of Fire.  In that day we will be fully keen to Truth and Righteousness and realize how blind we were when we lived for ourselves and not for God.  There will be tears because some will have empty eternal rooms that we spoke of and given no crown or reward because they did nothing for Jesus in their lifetime.  Some will realize that they will be eternally poor.  They will be poor in that day because they tried illegitimately to be rich today.  They will be last in that day because they tried to be first today.  They did not put others before themselves and now God is putting them last in the Kingdom.  And many will be told that they cannot even enter the Kingdom, the Holy City, as we will soon see.  That will be like Moses looking at the Promise Land from a distance, but never getting to be able to enter it himself.  The good news is that God is going to end on a good note and will wipe everyone’s tears away.  

Now what’s this thing about death you’re talking about?  I’m glad you asked...Isaiah also saw the new heavens and New Earth, or at least was told about them through a prophetic vision.  In Isaiah 65:17, it says, “Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth.  The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.”  This is not saying that God will give us amnesia.  Yes, we will remember the life we lived today.  Let me ask the reader however: Do you remember when you were 5 years old?  Can you speak of each day that you were 5 and all of the places you went to at that age?  If not, is it because you have amnesia?  Of course not.  We can remember some of the things we did at 5, but not all of them because it was such a long time ago (not to mention the brain pruning brain cells—I concede that this analogy excludes that).  How often do you talk about the things you did at 5 years old?  Can you recount even each minute of your actions you did last week and every conversation you was a part of?  Now let me ask: Trillions upon trillions of years from now when we are well into eternity, how much of this current lifetime do you think will be on your mind?  That is what Isaiah means here when he says that the former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.  It is not that God is going to wipe away our memories, but rather, our minds will be so occupied on the awesome state of affairs throughout eternity that this boring life we live today will become an afterthought.  

Verse 18 says, “But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.”  Wait, I thought Jerusalem was already created.  Oh yeah, He is referring to the New Jerusalem that has not yet been created.  It is important to realize before we continue much further, that this section is not describing the current Earth.  It is describing the time of the New Earth with the New Jerusalem City.  There will be some surprising things about this time that Isaiah says will take place throughout eternity.  Verse 19 reads, “I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.”  Yep, that’s what we read in Revelation 21.  We read that God Himself will wipe away every tear forever.  No more weeping and no more crying.  Again, that only occurs after this Earth has been done away with and we are on the New Earth—but immediately when we get there.  

Verse 20: “Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.”  What?!?!?!  “Dying” in eternity?  See, told you, that’s what the Bible says.  I’m not making this stuff up.  “But I thought there is no death in eternity,” many might retort.  “For Revelation 21:4 clearly says, ‘there will be no more death.’  Is this a contradiction of the Bible?”  If the Reader knows me by now, I believe that there are no contradictions in the Bible; so, any apparent contradiction that we come across needs to be investigated deeper, and verses compared, until the apparent contradiction is resolved.  If we consider the big picture, this apparent contradiction can be easily resolved.  Isaiah clearly says that there will not be an infant who dies young.  That is an important note: there will be no infants who die young.  All will at least reach beyond infanthood.  So whatever this “death” is, it is different than the type of death that we know of today.  For in this life and on this Earth, there are many infants and babies who die before reaching adolescence.  Isaiah goes on to say, “Nor will there be an old man who does not live out his years.”  Now wait a minute Isaiah, what are you talking about “living out his years”?  This statement implies that the old man will die after reaching his predetermined amount of years that God ordained for him.  If we are in Eternity, there is no “years” to live out—or is there?  Furthermore, how did the old man get old in the first place?  All Christians were given their new bodies during the Rapture.  Our new bodies are like Jesus’ Resurrected body, so we should all have the bodies of a fit 33 year old, not a bent over old person for an eternity.  Imagine if we are still aging throughout Eternity, then by the time the millionth year comes up, how shriveled up will we be?!?!  Some interpreters place this scene and time period in the Millennium.  But as we are closely following, this is not the Millennium: this is clearly the New Earth.  The text even told us that Jerusalem is new—it is the same current Jerusalem throughout the Millennium.  The Millennium will take place on this old Earth that we are currently on now.  This Earth has passed away here in this section of Isaiah.  

Isaiah 65:20 continues: “he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.”  This explicitly says that there will still be death throughout Eternity on the New Earth.  Again on might retort, “I thought that God declared there will be no more curse in Eternity.”  And isn’t death a curse?  God did declare that there will be no more curses in Eternity in Revelation 22:3, which reads, “No longer will there be any curse.”  Note the verse we just read does not say that they will be accursed: it says that they will be considered accursed by others (onlookers).  Again, what Isaiah is describing here is a different kind of death than what we know of today.  Some will die at a hundred, it says, but it will be a rare thing.  But Revelation 21 said that there will be no more death.  So what’s going on?  What we have to realize is that there is a different, distinct group and type of people that will live alongside the Church and Old Testament Israeli Saints on this New Earth throughout Eternity.  When the Church gets raptured to Heaven, all Christians and Old Testament saved people will at that time receive their new glorified bodies that are like just like Jesus’ glorified body when He resurrected (Philippians 3:21).  After this event, there still will be yet more people converted to Christianity throughout the 7 year Tribulation period.  These people missed that event of getting a new body.  They will go into Eternity with their current body (just like ours today).  The order of things will revert back to Genesis where people lived hundreds of years before dying.  Methuselah, you recall, almost lived 1,000 years.  In those days in Genesis, if we were to read someone dying at say, 100 years old in the list of ages, we would say, what happened to that person?  Everyone else is living like 300 years or more.  So what about the “no more death” statement in Revelation 21?  Death has been conquered by Jesus and for all of mankind for all of Eternity.  Our current bodies, remember, are covered in death.  The Tribulation saints didn’t get new bodies yet.  So when they die, they will immediately get back up because Death has no hold on them.  It will be as if there is no more death because they will be immediately raised back up without skipping a beat, and the post-Rapture saint will be given their new glorified body upon getting back up.  Please grasp the picture: the saved Tribulation saint will enter Eternity (that is, the New Earth) with their fleshly Earthly bodies from Earth Number One.  They will still live out their full years.  When they die, since Death is now defeated, they will fall down but will immediately open their eyes and stand back up.  They might not even fall down, as it might be instantaneous.  But those Tribulation saints who were faithful will live out their full years before this unique form of dying; those who Tribulation saints who were not so faithful will not reach old age before this “dying” occurs.  Abraham understood this when he and the lad went up the mountain.  Abe said, “The lad and I are going up, and we will return.”  Abraham went up the mountain to sacrifice Isaac, but he knew God’s promise that God said that through Isaac he will have many offspring.  Isaac hadn’t had any children yet at this time.  So Abraham reasoned that if he were to sacrifice Isaac that Isaac would have to raise right back up from the dead because of God’s promise.  

There is another curveball that we will soon see that Isaiah is going to hit us with regarding procreation throughout Eternity.  I mention it here because the verses we just covered imply it by mentioning an infant and youth.  Do you mean that there will be infants in “Heaven” on the New Earth throughout Eternity?  Will they ever grow up or will they forever be an infant, not able to talk?  If they do grow up, how long do they grow up for?  Will they be growing for an Eternity and reach such an old age that they become a shriveled prune?  These are obvious questions that arise by the mere mention of an infant being in Heaven.  But as we explained above, it all makes sense.  These “infants” are those who are born by the saved Tribulation saints who have crossed over into the New Earth/ Eternity with their old Earthly bodies and they will have the ability to procreate.  Soon as they eventually “die” they will be given their young adult eternal bodies that resemble Jesus’ glorified body in every way including age (about 33 years old).  The Church (and Old Testament Israeli Saints) already have their glorified bodies and do not have the ability to procreate during Eternity, for our new glorified bodies will not have that ability.    

If there is any other way to work out Revelation 21 with Isaiah 65 without any contradictions, I am open to hearing the Readers’ suggestions.  But this view, in my opinion, resolves all conflicts between the two passages.  But there’s more:  Isaiah 65:21 says, “They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.”  Build houses?  Doesn’t that contradict what Jesus said: “I will go and prepare a place for you...”?  Now Isaiah is saying we have to build our own place?  Recall from this series that Heaven is made up of both the New Jerusalem and the rest of the New Earth.  Where Jesus said “I will go and prepare a place for you,” He was specifically referring to some place inside of the Holy City Jerusalem (i.e. the Father’s House).  The Father’s House is not located outside of the New Jerusalem Kingdom City.  The Holy City is a city built by God’s hands alone, including our rooms (by “our” I mean only those who have access to the City).  I forewarned already that not everyone will be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  Outside of the Kingdom, we have to build our own houses.  But don’t forget that God gave Adam a job even in the Garden of Eden.  Even in this Paradise that foreshadows Heaven, God commanded Adam to till the ground and to name all of the animals.  Genesis 2:15 says, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”  So God gave Adam a job, before the curse of sin (and not too incidentally, before a wife), in this blissful garden.  God invented work and blessed it.  Man’s sin later brought a curse and burden to work so that tilling the ground would be a difficult and back-breaking job.  All things get reverted to bliss again in Heaven.  God will take away the curse that sin put on work.  And again, the Bible confirms that we will be eating in our new bodies because it says we will eat the fruit we plant.  This verse in Isaiah, also confirms that the ground on the New Earth will be fertile ground with soil, ready to plant fruits and vegetables.  And I believe that God is going to have many new species of plants and animals on this New Earth.  

Verse 22 in Isaiah says, “No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat.  For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands.”  I would say, “But a tree does not live forever: maybe hundreds sometimes a thousand years—so how come it says that people will live like the days of a tree?”  I would say that, but we just covered that.  We will eat securely.  No more will we have to give up what we plant and work for.  What you work for will be fully yours without taxes, interest, or repos.  Another passage says that there will be no more war anymore.  Notice that these people are enjoying the work of their hands.  Work is no longer cursed, but will be fun.  Monday will no longer be the hated day.  We will all have the energy, fitness, and enthusiasm to do the job.

Verse 23 throws us the curve ball.  It reads, “They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them.”  I’m going to pretend to be surprised as if I didn’t already mention this to you:  What!?!?!  It says that there will be continued procreation throughout eternity?  I never heard that before!!!  Yes!  That’s what it says: “they and their descendants with them”—not only them, but their descendants with them.  "But I thought that Jesus said that there will be no marrying in Eternity."  That is sort of what Jesus said.  In Matthew 22:30, Jesus actually says, “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in Heaven.”  Two things to note here: Jesus is specifically referring to the Church, and He is referring to those who have been given their new glorified bodies.  He specifically says “at the Resurrection.”  You recall from this study, that there will also be those on the New Earth who are still in their Old Earth’s body who lived through the Tribulation and did not get their glorified bodies and have not yet resurrected.  They still have to die and wake up to get their new bodies.  Those will be the ones who will be able to procreate on the New Earth.  Being that there are no seas, and that the New Earth will be much more massive than this Earth, there will be no problem of a procreating people throughout Eternity.  God will make sure that there is an abundant real estate available for us all.  

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