I COMPLETED THIS Ink with Pen and Brush in August of 2020. I like architecture. The Stone Arch Bridge is a local feature I’ve wanted to render in some medium for a long time. Ink became my choice. The Stone Arch Bridge of the Twin Cities, commissioned by James J. Hill and designed by Charles C. Smith, was built between 1882 and 1883. After 130 years of existence, in 1994, the bridge was converted to a pedestrian walkway.
I chose it as the Art for our third and final week on the Thought—Heaven 3. I see it as a symbol of the words spoken by Jesus in John 14:6 “I am the way [bridge or road]…to the Father [heaven]…’
TODAY I COME to the final blog on Heaven. Yes, I could go on for weeks but instead, I want to give a succinct summary of my current Thoughts and introduce you to two resources you may consider for a more thorough investigation. As I’ve previously stated, it is a great subject of enormous consequence and benefit for all Jesus followers. My primary resource is the Jude/Christian Scriptures.
THE SIMPLEST WAY to conclude my thought on this subject is to state the obvious: Physically, we will die. ‘We’ (as physically animated persons) live for a period of time, before that physical part of us dies. I believe ‘we’ (the inanimate part of our true identity/being) do not die. At this point of physical separation, I believe Scripture teaches that followers of Jesus enter Heaven. What does that mean? That’s a question theologians and philosophers have considered for perhaps millennia and more recently, even scientists have joined in.
I see ‘Heaven’ described in two ways:
FIRST, ‘INTERMEDIATE HEAVEN’ (sometimes referred to as ‘Paradise’) and ‘Eternal Heaven’. What do I mean? When that person physically dies, he or she is instantly alive in ‘Intermediate Heaven’. One passage I believe supports this is Jesus’ words to the thief on the cross in Luke 23:43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” We are instantly separated from our physical bodies and into the presence of the Trinity: Father God, Son Jesus, and Holy Spirit. This active presence continues until the resurrection and renewal of all creation described in Revelation chapters 21, 22—New Heaven and New Earth (and our New bodies in 2 Corinthians 5). That leads to…
SECONDLY, ETERNAL HEAVEN (eternal home). Jesus spoke of this in John 14:1-2 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? Between the ‘Intermediate Heaven’ and ‘Eternal Heaven’ described above is when the last part of Jesus’ words in John 14 takes place. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am (Eternal Heaven).
I believe there to be strong evidence that God will continue with creation throughout the cosmos that He began in Genesis 1 and 2. I believe we will be serving with God in this eternal expansion similar to that given to Adam and Eve in the Genesis account, Genesis 1:21-34. All of our redeemed gifts, talents, and experience will come into play with our New bodies.
My Secondary Resources
Heaven, by Randy Alcorn, published 2004, (516 pages). Randy has written more than fifty books, including Heaven. He has studied the subject more than twenty years and has a library of 150 volumes on heaven. I read this volume several times since 2007.
Destined For The Throne, by Paul E. Billheimer, published 1988, (134 pages). Forward by Billy Graham. I was given a copy by a friend who had just returned from California in 1995.
Hope for Now and Eternity
1 Thessalonians 4: 13, Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death (now in ‘Intermediate Heaven’), so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him (into ‘Eternal Heaven’).