Read 2 Peter 3:1-13
Over the next fourteen days, we will be exploring some key questions that are often asked about heaven…probably some of the questions you have asked or thought. Today’s question is a great place to start. What do we mean when we talk about “heaven”?
Did you realize that the Bible uses the word “heaven” in at least three different ways? Let’s take a closer look.
- There are the present, stellar heavens. Peter reminds us that these were created by God as He spoke them into existence (2 Pet. 3:5 cf. Gen. 1:1). These heavens contain the vastness of planets, stars, and other galaxies. The present heavens declare God’s glory (Ps. 19:1) and display His eternal power and divine nature (Rom. 1:20). One, day, according to Peter, these heavens will be destroyed (2 Pet. 3:7).
- There is also heaven, the current dwelling place of God. John was invited to this heaven in Revelation 4. As will be seen in a future devotional, it is also the dwelling place of angels and a place of worship. It is to this heaven that all are invited, but only those who repent in faith in Jesus Christ will come (2 Pet. 3:9). One day, the redeemed from every tribe, language, people, and nation will gather there (Rev. 5:9).
- There is the future New Heaven. The fallen state of creation is only temporary. In the future, a New Heaven and New Earth will replace the current one (2 Pet. 3:7; Rev. 21:1). This will be a place where the redeemed will gather eternally. It is a place where God’s glory will be eternal and the repercussions of man’s fall will be eliminated (Rev. 21, 22). This will be the heaven and earth God intended from the outset.
Both descriptions #2 and #3 above have overlaps. God, angels, and the redeemed inhabit both. Throughout this series, we will sometimes refer to “heaven” without discriminating between the two.
Let’s close for today, though, with three key questions:
- Are you confident that you will one day join God in heaven? (Check out 1 John 5:11, 12.)
- Are you living life with expectations of accountability before God in heaven? (Followers of Jesus will be rewarded according to the service and the conduct of their lives according to 2 Corinthians 5:10.)
- Are you boldly and compassionately inviting others to be with God in heaven? (The message is as simple as John 3:16.)