Inspiration – Our eternal destiny is predetermined

Rev. Terry Goerz,
Redeemer Lutheran Church

A large percentage of Canadians believe there is a heaven, but what they mean when they speak of heaven is quite unclear.

There are so many wrong ideas about what happens after death, so much speculation, and so much fantasy and fiction about the mystery of it all. Writers and moviemakers have had a field day presenting all kinds of images of what happens after death – some pleasant, some horrifying.

Others pass it all off. They say heaven is a trick used by Christians to make people feel better about their death, or a prop to help them cope with the death of a loved one. They believe there is nothing after death – we are not spiritual beings and death is the end totally.

Some say that a selected number will live forever on a renewed planet. Others believe in reincarnation, the transmigration of souls, which means coming back again as someone or something else.

Even Christians confuse heaven, the place our souls go to as we await the return of Christ to Earth, and the New Heaven and New Earth, where all true Christians live with a recreated, perfected body after Christ returns.

So what happens after death? Most Christians believe our physical body dies and returns to the Earth we were created from, and our sinful nature dies there with it. Our soul and spirit, cleansed of all sin, rises to heaven and resides with Christ, but only temporarily.

So often it is stated that one goes to heaven after death and lives there with Christ eternally. That is not the case.

It is also often stated one’s pet goes to heaven after death. Heaven is a spiritual place, animals do not have a spirit, so they return to the soil after death and have no afterlife.

And so often one reads that a person who has died goes to heaven and is with their spouse who preceded them. While that may be comforting, scripture indicated that marriage lasts only “until death do us part”.

Jesus was asked about a woman who died after having a number of husbands, whose wife would she be in heaven? Jesus said, “at the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.”

So heaven, the place where Jesus ascended to after His resurrection, is a spiritual place where our spirits and souls enjoy the presence of Christ and the Father.

In Scripture we are pictured as in joyful worship there. We are there only until the end of the age when Christ returns to Earth, with all the saints, and we receive a new, resurrected perfected body, and we live physically again with the Triune God on the New Heaven and New Earth, which is one place. God lives there with us for eternity. There is no longer a separation of heaven and earth. As an aside, there are animals in the New Heaven End New Earth but it is very different for them.

Isaiah 11: 6–8 “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest.”

Believers in Christ have the sure knowledge that death is not the end but the beginning of a new life that starts in heaven. So heaven, a spiritual place, is not our eternal destiny, rather our eternal destiny is the New Heaven and New Earth where we live eternally with recreated, perfected physical bodies in the presence of God.

Revelation 21: 3b-4 “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. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Blessings!

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