No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:3-5)
The science-fiction writer, Isaac Asimov, once remarked that “whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.” I don’t know any Christians who would say those words out loud. But I suspect there are many who have quietly shared in this fear, which is rooted in this half-truth about heaven:
Half-Truth #4: We will worship for all eternity
Scripture is clear that we will indeed worship forever (see Revelation 5:13 as one example). But the reason this is a half-truth is because of our limited understanding of the word “worship.”
When we think of...
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:1-2)
Last week, we saw that Earth is our temporary home until it is our permanent one. But in my experience, even Christians who understand this can have an anemic view of what life on the New Earth will be like, leading many to believe the third half-truth I want to explore in this series:
Half-Truth #3: We are going back to Eden
There is some truth to this. As we see in today’s passage, the “tree of life” from Eden is present once again. In the words of my Bible’s heading over Revelation 22, the New Earth is “Eden Restored.” But it is also much more than that.
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. (Revelation 21:1)
Countless sermons and songs have convinced us of this half-truth about heaven:
Half-Truth #2: Earth is our temporary home
It is true that when we die, our “spirit returns to God” (Ecclesiastes 12:7), departing earth to be with Jesus in what theologians call the “present heaven.” The lie is that we stay there.
One of Jesus’s most famous references to heaven is in John 14:2 where he says, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” Get this: The Greek word for “dwelling places” is monē, which denotes temporary lodging.
Why temporary? Because God’s plan all along was to bring heaven to earth and live with us here! Not ultimately to “fit...
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)
“The kingdom of God” was the dominant theme of Jesus’s teachings. But he also preached about “the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 4:17). Are these two separate ideas? The world’s leading New Testament scholar, N.T. Wright says no: “‘God’s kingdom’ and ‘kingdom of heaven’ mean the same thing.”
Understanding that detail will be critical as we enter this series unpacking four half-truths about heaven. Here’s the first:
Half-Truth #1: Heaven is a place we go to in the future
Jesus did say that heaven is a place (see John 14:2). And Scripture also makes it clear that heaven is in the future (see Revelation 11:15). But heaven is so much more than a place in the future.
In Matthew 10:7-8, Jesus instructed his disciples: “proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The...