Truth Seekers Ministries Presents…
Heaven and Hell
In The Beginning, God Created the Heavens and the Earth..
Christians, and even non Christians have often pondered on the idea of heaven. If it was even real, what would it be like, what kind of things would we be doing..etc?, and of course my favorite, “Oh God, I hope I make it”. This study will delve into all the aspects that scripture tells us about heaven. Later, I will also dive into the other place, hell,..well, hopefully not literally.
For this study I will be using Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, God’s Plan for Man, Oliver B. Green’s, Hell, and I would also like you to pull up in a separate window the chart, “Plan of the Ages”, to be able to reference it later. Just open either the power point file, or right click on the .jpg file to open it up. You used to be able to get both the .pps, and the .jpg files from Dake’s website for free, I haven’t checked lately though, but you are welcome to use mine. Check it out, for it gives you an awesome perspective on biblical history and future. It also is a great study tool when explaining certain biblical events to other disciples. By the way, “Disciple” simply means “Learner”, that is what we all are.
There are three heavens mentioned in scripture. The first heaven is above the earth, with the clouds. Genesis calls it a “Firmament”, which literally means, a firmness across the vaults of the heavens. This is very much different than what we now have in our atmosphere. The firmament held back vast amounts of water before Noah’s flood, and when the fountains of the deep were released, this firmament was also “broken” and poured forth water from above. The second heaven is described as the stars of this universe, our starry sky. The third heaven is a place, somewhat like the earth, but is the abode of God, the place where His Temple, His City, His Son, and all of the Saints, both old and new testament believers that were “In Christ” at their death, now exist. They are at peace, watched over by angels, waiting on the “Set Time” so they can return to earth with Jesus, receive their glorified bodies and be reunited with their loved ones who are alive on the earth. There are those of us who will be changed, “In the twinkling of an eye..” Who will never have to taste death, for they are alive and faithful awaiting on their Lord when He returns.
The fact that this other planet, called “Heaven” is a literal place is plain by scripture. It exists simultaneously with, and was created at the same time as, or just prior than, the earth was. Genesis 1:1 Paul, was caught up to this “Third Heaven” and saw things so amazing that he couldn’t even speak of them, probably commanded not to, just as John was. John was caught up to this heaven in Revelation 4:1, this being a type of the rapture or “Catching Away” of those alive and “In Christ” at His return. Enoch has been alive and in heaven for over five thousand years now, and Elijah is there still since his “Catching Away” in the fiery chariot. These two, Enoch and Elijah, will probably be the two Prophets of God that will operate during the first half of the Great Tribulation. They will finally be allowed by God to be killed, martyred for the cause. They will be left in the streets of Jerusalem, but will be Resurrected and raised back to heaven while the world watches in astonishment. This begins then the last half of the Great Tribulation, which has God himself pouring out wrath on this earth and those who inhabit it.
Heaven is now the “Capitol” of the universe. For in it we have God’s City, the New Jerusalem, God’s Temple, and His Throne. This is the headquarters, where everything that is caused or allowed on earth has it’s beginnings. Even free will is allowed, but because God knows our endings from our beginnings then it is He, that pulls the strings of our lives, directing the outcome. Even when Jesus returns, and has his “Kingship” on this earth for a thousand years, the “Capitol” remains in Heaven, for it is not until after the thousand year reign of Jesus as King of Kings on this earth, with His True Church is ruling and reigning along with him, when Satan is loosed again for a “season” causing a new rebellion, initiating the Great White Throne Judgment, that the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven, which contains God’s Throne, and God then makes His abode among men.
Heaven is spoken of as being in the “North”, Isa.14:12-14, where Satan led his rebellion into Heaven, into the “Sides of the North”. Psalms 75:6-7 has promotions coming not from east, west, or south, but God is the Judge who “putteth down one and setteth up another”. Since North is not indicated, and heaven is in the north then God’s Judgment comes from the North. Now Heaven could be some planet in our universe that exists in the “north” or true north direction, where Polaris the North Star now resides. However God being God, can do anything, and it wouldn’t surprise me if our universe, with all we know and can see, exists as a marble in God’s hand, where he sits, in Heaven, a place so huge and vast we can’t even imagine the distance to it, much less it’s size, and yet for God, it is like our universe and indeed our very lives are only milliseconds away and totally under His control.
In Romans 1:20, Paul speaks of the “invisible things” of God being clearly seen by the “Visible” things of creation. In other words, if we want to know what heaven is like, then we need to look at his visible creation. Before the fall, all the animals, plants, flowers, hills, mountains, valleys, etc. existed, heaven would have the same things. There wouldn’t be the pestilences, thorns, briars, diseases, and the like, for these things only came about after the fall and were isolated to the earth. Here then, is a listing of things that the scripture tells us of what is in heaven.
We are told of Cities, and Mansions in heaven. There are trees, rivers, and fountains of water. There are animals there. I’ve been asked about whether a family pet would be there, and what I can say is this. I can’t say that “All Dogs go to Heaven”, but I believe that anything that God put in your pet, whether recognized or not, that is not of this earth and of the sinful state of death that we are all born into, will go back to God. And you very well may see your beloved pet, or at least some aspect of it. Anything good and eternal that God put in your pet will return to God when the pet dies. In my Rapture of the Church letter, I show how at the time of the rapture, that the people on the earth will all hear the trumpet blast and be terrified, the storehouses will suddenly be found empty, and the beasts of the earth turn very wild. Women will bear monsters instead of babies. These are the effects of God pulling all good things that he has allowed to occur on earth back to himself. This is also why that during the Great Tribulation, that the economy is so bad, that even those with money aren’t escaping the trials of this earth not having any food to speak of, and ripe for the antichrist to come on the scene to deceive the world. Back to heaven now. There is furniture, altars, tongs, fire and coals, censer and incense, hence smoke. There are musical instruments, clothes, vials or bowls, crowns, stones, books, treasures. There are rainbows, thunders and lightning, and clouds. There are lamps, a sea of glass, singing and worship. There are palm leaves, so there must be palm trees. There are trumpets and silence, so it must be noisy at times. There are mountains, hail, olive trees and candlesticks. The ark of the covenant is there or will be there when the seventh trumpet sounds. There will be banquets and probably are now. There are doors and posts, walls, and gates, pearls, diamonds, precious stones, and gold in such abundance and quality that it, the Gold, is nearly transparent and the streets are paved with it.
So yes, heaven is a real place. I truly can’t wait to get there, just think about it. No more pain, no more death, no more suffering. No one goes hungry, but you don’t have to eat to thrive. All Christians should desire this. Desire for your Lord to return, and by our preparing ourselves and being ready for it, we are actually hastening it’s occurrence.
But what about…Hell
Hell was not created in the beginning. It was created at a later date, it is possible that even eons of time could have passed by before Lucifer’s rebellion. Genesis 1:1-2 has this earth becoming a waste and desolation. This occurred as a result of Lucifer’s rebellion. God didn’t create this earth, “waste and desolate” or “without form and void”, scripture also makes it plain that it wasn’t in that state, it became or came to be in that state. We are told that Hell was prepared for the Devil, (Satan) and his angels, the full third of the heavenly beings that went along with Lucifer’s rebellion. It wasn’t even prepared for fallen man, although those not “In Christ” will find it quite cozy.
Hell and the Grave are two distinct words, meaning two different things. The grave “queber” in Hebrew, and “Mnaymion” in Greek are both words used to describe the place for the body, Hell-”Sheol” or “Hades” always refers to the place the inner man goes to at death, hence the two are not the same.
There are five distinct compartments in the underworld, acting as prisons of sorts. Reference the chart for a visual.
Tartarus: This place is for the fallen angels that sinned before and after the flood. There is no indication that any human has ever entered that place.
Paradise: This is the second prison, used until Jesus resurrection. This place is where all the righteous dead were held until Jesus death when he descended into “hell” and released the captives. It wasn’t the fire and brimstone compartment he went to but to this “Paradise” side of hell. Jesus took back the keys of Hell and death from Satan, and returned to heaven with all the righteous Saints that were held there since Adam. Since Jesus emptied that abode, all those in Christ that die, are immediately with Jesus and the rest of the Saints in heaven.
Hell-Hades: This prison active now under the age of Grace. This is the place of torments, and all the wicked souls and spirits from Adam until the end millennium are and will be held there until they are released, receive immortal bodies and appear at the Great White Throne Judgment. The word Hades, means literally, “the unseen world”, or the world of departed or disembodied spirits.
The Abyss or Bottomless Pit: This is the prison of some demons and certain angelic beings. No humans are known to have gone to the abyss. The Hebrew equivalent is Abaddon, translated as “Destruction”. The Greek word is, “Abussos”, or Abyss, an unmeasurable depth. It is a deep chasm in the lower parts of the earth and is translated as “Deep” and “Bottomless Pit”. John sees this pit opened up in Revelation, and out came smoke, with demon locust type creatures, some 200,000,000 of them, ascend to start wreaking havoc on earth.
The Lake of Fire: This is the place that was prepared for the Devil and his angels. It is the eternal hell of wicked men, demons, fallen angels, and all the rebellious creatures. There is no indication that anyone is there yet. The beast and the false prophet will be cast into it for a thousand years during the millennium, and will still be there when the Devil and the rest of the rebels are cast into it. It is called the “Gehenna of Fire”, and the second death, which is the lake of fire. It is eternal in it’s duration. It is most likely in the center of the earth.
Until the Judgment, the body of every man goes to the grave, but the soul goes to one of two places, Hades-Hell or Heaven.
So what about the Judgment. If all the wicked dead are then thrown into this lake of fire, then why even have the “Great White Throne Judgment”. There are in fact several Judgments. The Judgment Seat of Christ, where all those, “In Christ” appear, and become purified to be the Holy Bride of her Lord, and to receive to varying degrees rewards or loss, but salvation is sure. This occurs during the Great Tribulation period and is finished before Jesus returns at the battle of Armageddon with all the Saints. There is the Judgment of Israel which is the Great Tribulation, Jacobs time of Trouble. There is the Judgment of the Nations, which is what Jesus will do at His second coming, after the Great Tribulation period. You have the Judgment of Angels, which occurs after the millennium. Then you have the Great White Throne Judgment. This is the Judgment that everyone, not “In Christ” will appear at. This occurs at the end of the thousand year reign of Jesus and His Church on this earth. God is the Judge on Duty here, not Jesus. God is a Just God and will judge accordingly. The reason that the wicked dead are judged, is because that just as there are varying degrees of rewards in heaven, there will be varying degrees of punishment, in Hell. Yes, Joe Blow down the road, atheist to the end, but overall a good man will suffer less than a Hitler, or Jack the Ripper. Men can argue that the “Fires of Hell” are figurative and not literal when spoken of in scripture, but there is no evidence to support that assumption. Jesus himself warns one, of calling another, “Thou Fool”, of being in danger of “Hell Fire”. There and other places the Son of God plainly states it’s existence as a real eternal place of torment with fire and brimstone. That is enough for me to believe that it exists.
The real “Hell” however is not the eternal torments caused by Satan and his angels on the masses of people stupid enough to wind up there, but it is the eternal separation from God. All humans are eternal, you will live on forever, the question is not, “Will I cease to exist?” but since I will live forever, which is a really long time, then, “Where will I spend eternity?”
Where will you spend eternity? You may say that it don’t matter, but let me tell you when the Sh*t hits the fan, you will be praying and seeking God. Seeking that salvation through Jesus Christ, but it may be too late to avoid having to go through God’s wrath. You may can be saved after the true church is taken out, but why go through the wrath of God. Or you may just grieve the Holy Spirit one too many times, and can never be “Saved”. Why not just go ahead and make that choice of faith. Don’t wait until it is too late.
With Love in Christ,
Patrick Robinson 9/18/2011