Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What is heaven like - part 4?

Happy Wednesday everyone. Here's the answers to last week's questions. Heaven is looking better and better to me! I'm using this tropical picture today because to me, that is what Heaven looks like!

What sort of rewards will we receive in Heaven?

The Bible has much to say about rewards and crowns given to God's children for the things they did on earth. It grieves me greatly when I meet Christians who have received Christ but believe they don't have to do anything else on this earth except maintain that belief and wait either to die or the Lord to return. They may make it into Heaven, but they would have lost so much in the way of rewards and authority. Several times in Revelation, crowns bestowed upon believers are mentioned. Now, you may say, I don't want a crown. But I believe these crowns represent "ruling authority"

"To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations." Rev 2:26
"Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life." Rev 2:10

It is clear from these and other scriptures (Luke 19:17, 1 Corinthians 6:2-3, 2 Tim 2:12) that we will reign with Christ on the New Earth. This was God's intention for man from the beginning as we see in Genesis. When God created Adam, He gave him dominion over every living thing and told him to rule. (Genesis 1:28) On the new Earth, we will be restored to the place God originally intended.
What will we rule? I assume we will rule cities, counties, countries on earth, depending on the level of authority we are given. And that level of authority depends on what we do here on earth.
In Luke 19, Jesus tells the parable of the ten talents or minas he gives His servants. To the one who was faithful to use his talents and increase their value Jesus said:

'Well done, my good servant!' his master replied. 'Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.'

But to the one who did nothing with his talent, but hid it in the dirt, Jesus said.

'Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas"

Does it matter what we do here on Earth for Jesus? Absolutely!

Will the new Earth be like Eden?

In the sense that the new Earth will be beautiful beyond description, yes, but in the sense that the New Earth will be nothing but a huge garden, Scripture does not indicate that at all. In fact, Scripture speaks of cities and countries and kings and ships (Thank goodness!) and a whole economic and political system. But it will be without crime, pollution, death, diseases, famine, plague or natural disasters. As Randy Alcorn says in his book Heaven: "The earthly beauty we see now won't be lost. We won't trade Earth's beauty for Heaven's, but retain earth's beauty and gain even deeper beauty"

In 1 Corinthians 2:9, it says "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"

I, for one, am fairly excited.

Since this went a bit long today, I'm going to reserve the last question for next week, along with the following:

Will we be ourselves? Will we retain our unique identity
What will we do in the new Earth?

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