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 . H EAVE N.  . A Study of the Book by Randy Alcorn.  . S ESSION FIV E G OD’S HEAVENLY BOOKEND S.  . W ARM-UP QUESTION S.

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

HEAVEN

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A Study of the Book by Randy Alcorn


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

SESSION FIVE

GOD’S HEAVENLY BOOKENDS

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W arm up question s

WARM-UP QUESTIONS

  • What’s the difference between a movie you can’t get out of your head for weeks vs. the one you forgot about once the credits rolled?

  • What constitutes a truly exceptional mystery?


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but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries…

…and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen…

…The king said to Daniel, "Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery."

Selections from Daniel 2


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Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

I Corinthians 15:51-52


T he awaiting epiphan y

THE AWAITING EPIPHANY

  • Unlike Hinduism and Buddhism, Christianity does not consign Heaven to a vague or intangible prospect, nor are earth and humanity abandoned.

  • Like the closing scenes of a great mystery movie, we are likely to be astonished how God left much of the picture in front of us all along…


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By the sweat of your brow

you will eat your food

until you return to the ground,

since from it you were taken;

for dust you are

and to dust you will return.

Genesis 3:19


A shes to ashe s

ASHES TO ASHES…

  • Alcorn frequently refers to our “longing for Eden,” as part of God’s creation.

  • We now live on an earth under a curse, bursting with clues of how it once was, how it was meant to be, and how it will one day be.

    • Honeymoon in Hawaii

    • …vs. Christoplatonism


T he bookend s

THE BOOKENDS

  • The following chart describes the earth that was, the earth that is, and the new earth that will be…

    • Genesis 1-2

    • Genesis 3 – Revelation 20

    • Revelation 21-22


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  • * Taken from pp 82-85 from Randy Alcorn’s Heaven book. Author notes paradox of

    • “already and not yet” aspects of a believer’s righteousness in Christ.


G od s redemption pla n

GOD’S REDEMPTION PLAN

  • Did Adam and Eve have a choice in their failure?

  • Did Satan’s successful trap catch God by surprise?

  • What, then, of the rest of the plan?


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Behold, I will create

new heavens and a new earth.

The former things will not be remembered,

nor will they come to mind.

Isaiah 65:17


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"As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me," declares the LORD, "so will your name and descendants endure.

Isaiah 66:22


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But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

2 Peter 3:13


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Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.

Revelation 21:1


G od s redemption pla n1

GOD’S REDEMPTION PLAN

  • Redemption, Return, and Re-creation (and Restoration) were part of God’s plan all along.

  • This is not a “development cycle” of prototype, flight test, and project abandonment in favor of a whole new prototype.


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Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Matthew 19:28


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He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.“

Revelation 21:5


G od s redemption pla n2

GOD’S REDEMPTION PLAN

  • Jesus spoke of the renewal of all things, not the abandonment.

  • The Revelation passage speaks of making “all things new,” not “an entirely set of new things.”


G od s redemption pla n3

GOD’S REDEMPTION PLAN

  • Isaiah 2 speaks of objects of human pride and wealth as idolatry against God.

  • Isaiah 60 paints a picture of these things redeemed as objects of praise.

    • The narrative preserves the individual gifts and cultural diversity of the procession.

    • New Earth will not be a scene from I, Robot.


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Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

Romans 5:18-19


T he bookend s1

THE BOOKENDS

  • The first and Last Adam faced the same adversary, under the same tactics.

  • Adam was tempted (and failed) in the absence of strife and adversity.

  • Jesus was tempted (and succeeded!) at the pinnacle of strife and adversity.


T he bookend s2

THE BOOKENDS

  • Jesus has already been granted all authority. (Ephesians 1:20-22)

  • Jesus has already “disarmed the powers and authorities.” (Colossians 2:15)

  • The reason Jesus appeared was to “destroy the devil’s work.” (1 John 3:8)


T he curse lifte d

THE CURSE LIFTED

  • What is the curse?

  • The cure has already been administered, first to us, and soon to all of God’s (redeemed) creation.

    • 4 Liters of Oxygen, IV Antibiotics

  • What does the lifted curse look like?


T he curse lifte d1

THE CURSE LIFTED

  • Reverse-engineer Genesis 3:17-19

    • No more painful toil

    • No more thorns and thistles

    • No more sweat for survival

    • No more death

  • Imagine the potential of life with these things lifted.

    • Imagine present earth with no prior wars or famine.


G od s poetr y

GOD’S POETRY

  • In light of today’s study and God’s rich poetic revelations, re-read and re-evaluate:

    • The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)

    • Hosea and Gomer (Hosea)

    • How do these passages echo the thread of ignorant beginning, destructive middle, and redeemed (superior ending)?


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