What happens when a Christian dies??? Luke 23:43 - Jesus answered him (the thief), “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” Therefore, the implication is that immediately upon death, a person will be with Christ and it will be in Heaven (which is also known as paradise) So….WHERE is this present or “intermediate” heaven? We don’t really know…but if we read the Bible, we KNOW there is a spiritual dimension that we do not see on a regular basis! It is in this realm that we are told God “lives”- think of it as His “control room”
While present Heaven is normally invisible to anyone living on Earth, human beings can sometimes be allowed to see into present Heaven. • Elisha’s servant (2 Kings 6:10-17) • – Elisha prayed that his servant would be able to see into the spiritual dimension and he did • Stephen (the first martyr) • – gazed into Heaven and saw Jesus standing at God’s right hand (Acts 7:55-56) • Angels and Demons are mentioned throughout scripture as being with God or in the heavenly realm • Jesus ascended into Heaven which was seen by his disciples - “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)
So …WHY is the place we go to when we die called the present or intermediate Heaven? Isn’t it just Heaven? • NO!!!!!!!! We are told in Revelation that the final dwelling place of God is different than it is now! • As a matter of fact, God will come down to the New Earth (Rev 21:1-3) • 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. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 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. • God + New Earth = New Heaven (because wherever God is, it’s Heaven)
This final Heaven, here on the New Earth, is where those who are with Christ will live forever. • There will be nations and languages – not starting again with just Adam and Eve • Possible that skills, culture, etc will continue and not just be wiped out • Mankind’s creative expression will continue to exist • This is clearly a physical place, on the earth – implication is that the earth will be made even better!! River, trees, streets, crops/food, jewels, a glowing city, no darkness, no sadness, and, of course God and Christ completely available to us!