Does Heaven exist? What about you? Do you think heaven exists? Do you
think heaven is a real place where people go when they die? Who goes
there? What will they do?

Even the apostle Paul couldn't find the words to describe heaven
(1 Corinthians 2:9).  

10. Heaven:Our Greatest Hope 

The Hope of Heaven
------------------
Did you ever lie back on a grassy hillside and wonder, "What's out there?"
Whether you were looking at the coulds or the stars, you probably wondered
if "out there" included heaven.

Did you ever ask your parents about heaven? Have your kids ever asked you?
Probably so, because next to the question, "Is there a God?" the question
we mortals most frequently ask is, "Does heaven exist?"

One of the reasons for this response is surely that God has "planted
eternity in the human heart" (Ecclesiastes 3:11). But the other great
reason concerns hope.

Because we live in an imperfect world--full of disease, war, and natural
disasters--we live with the hope that somewhere there is a better place,
free from the uncertainty and pain of this world. Becuse we toil and work
and worry all our days, we hope that someday our stress and concerns and
negative emotions will be put to rest, replaced with true happiness and
everlasting contentment. In other words, we are hoping for heaven
(Romans 8:23).

What Will Heaven Be Like?
-------------------------
Heaven is where Jesus lives now (Acts 3:21), and where those who have
trusted Jesus will live in the future (John 14:2). There will be no
sorrow, crying, or pain in heaven, and the inhabitants of heaven will
never again experience death (Revelation 21:4). True believers will see
Jesus face-to-face in heaven and be able to interact with Him (1 John 3:2).
Believers will be glorified-that is, raised with Jesus, seated and exalted
with Him in heaven (Ephesians 2:6). While we're there, we will serve God 
(Revelation 5:10), and give praise to Jesus, the Lamb who is worthy
(Revelation 5:12). We will be reunited with our believing loved ones who
died before us (Matthew 8:11). In heaven, we will be able to grow in
knowledge and truth, thereby increasing our awareness of God and his
works.

"What Happens When Christians Die?
----------------------------------
The Bible is pretty clear that when Christians die, they immediately go
into the presence of the Lord. When the thief on the cross said, "Jesus,
remember me when you come into your Kingdom," Jesus told him he would be
in "paradise" that very day (Luke 23:43). And Paul wrote that he longed
"to go and be with Christ" (Philippians 1:23). However, departed
Christians will not receive a glorified body until the future resurrection
at the rapture. Theologians call this time between a believer's death and
resurrection the "imtermediate state." Even though the body has died, the
believer's eternal soul exist in a conscious state and enjoys fellowship
with God in real time while waiting for a new, resurrected body.

Heaven Is a Place
-----------------
Jesus confirmed that heaven is a real place (John 14:2-4).

A New Heaven and a New Earth
----------------------------
Several times the Bible asserts that after the end of the world as we 
know it there will be a new heaven and a new earth. The old earth and
heaven won't be completely destroyed, but rather regenerated. The process
will begin during the millennium and will be completed after the
millennium and the great white throne judgment (Revelation 21:1). 

At the conclusion of the millennium, when Christ has conquered all His
enemies--including Satan and death--He will turn the kingdom over to God
the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).

Because of what Christ has done on the cross to make all this possibe, God
will in turn elevate His Son to the highest place in heaven and earth. In
fact, He's already done it (Philippians 2:9-11).

That's why all the inhabitants and hosts of heaven will worship Jesus, the
Lamb who is worthy (Revelation 5:11-14).

"Is There a First, Second, and Third Heaven?"
---------------------------------------------
The Bible talks about the "third heaven" only once (2 Corinthians 12:2),
but it never mentions a first or second heaven. Theologians can only
speculate that the first heaven is within the earth's atmosphere, while
the second heaven describes space. The third heaven is where God and God
alone lives. This would be the heaven that Jesus is preparing for all
believers.
 
A New City
----------
Did you know that heaven wil include a city? It's called the New
Jerusalem, and it's described in detail in Revelation 21:2,3). You really
need to read all of Revelation 21, because this is where we get the idea
that the streets of heaven will be made of gold and the gates of heaven
will be made of pearls. There's no doubt that the New Jerusalem is a
literal city, probably the city that Abraham hoped for (Hebrews 11:10).
It's also the city that we long for (Hebrews 13:14).

This city is heaven, but it's not all of heaven. Think of the New
Jerusalem as the capital city of heaven. This celestial city will be
visible from all parts of the new heaven and the new earth.

Heaven Is a State
-----------------
When we say that heaven is a state, we mean that heaven will offer
opportunites far beyond anything we can imagine. One of the incredible
things abut heaven is that we will continue to grow in knowledge and
truth. When we get to heaven, we will begin the endless and endlessly
fascinating task of exploring, learning, and loving the facets of
infinity, the inexhaustible nature of God. We will not be omniscient--that
is, know everything--but we will continue to learn throughout
eternity:things about heaven, about each other, and about God.

Heaven will also provide several conditions we can only dream about now.

1. We will have complete peace (Psalm 23:1-3).

2. We will have complete rest (Psalm 91:1).

3. We will have complete security and p[rotection (Psalm 91:2).

4. We will have complete beauty (Psalm 19:1).

5. We will have complete fellowship (Matthew 26:29).

"What's That Again?"
--------------------
1. The resaon we hope for heaven is that we long for something better than
   this world.
 
2. Heaven is a real place created by God for all believers who have ever
   lived. It will be a place of great aactivity:We willworship Jesus,
   interact with others, and grow in knowledge.
 
3. Heaven will incluse a new heaven, a new earth, and the New Jerusalem.

4. In heaven we will experience complete peace, rest, security, beauty,
   and fellowship.
 
5. We will have bodies, recognize each other, and experience emotions as
   we spend eternity in heaven.
 
6. There will be no sin, sex, sorrow, or death in heaven.
 
7. We will never be bored in heaven.