Abraham and heaven
The nature of heaven
Matthew 8:11 11 The Centurians faith
I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
This verse reinforces the lesson we saw last week about the true children of Abraham being those who follow his example, share his faith rather than genes.
Three great Gospel truths are touched on here
1 The size of heaven. Despite the narrowness of the way and the few that find it. The population of heaven is vast and innumerable. Thus the promise to Abraham himself is fulfilled in the Church.
Genesis 15:5 5 He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars -- if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." (NIV)
2 The breadth of heaven From every age and every people group. All one in Christ. Those that looked forward in faith or backward with faith to Calvary
Revelation 5:9 9 And they sang a new song:
"You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation. (NIV)
3 The nature of heaven It is “great” feasting, pleasures for evermore
11 You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (NIV)
The dwellers in heaven.
Like the angels NOT turned into Angels. That is the myth of Hollywood. Angels are a separate order of creation. As different from us as animals or plants. We share some characteristics with them but we are different.
29 Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 31 But about the resurrection of the dead -- have you not read what God said to you, 32 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living." (NIV)
We can learn from Christ’s reply
1) There is a real resurrection 1 Cor 15
2) There are literal angels
3) Man in eternity will no longer “need” marriage
a) Companionship not lonely like Adam
b) Procreation – the number of elect complete
4) Link this with “pleasures” as above. It marks not a reduction but a completion. We will have the capacity to love in a pure and holy way all other dwellers in heaven.
5) We will be the bride of Christ.
7 Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready. (NIV)
Revelation 21:2 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (NIV)
6) They are alive – in the fullest sense of the word.
Mark 12:26 26 Now about the dead rising -- have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account of the bush, how God said to him, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'?
The grim alternative.
Luke 13:28 28 "There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.
Part at least of the agony of hell is the sense of lost opportunity. There they are (heaven), there (hell), you will for ever remain.
Luke 16:23 23 In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.
Though often included as a parable it is not introduced in Scripture as one. Parable or history its lessons are fearsome.
1) Heaven is not the domain of the rich, the intelligent, but of the Christian.
2) It is a place of torment v23
3) It is a place of full consciousness v24
4) It is a place without mercy v25
5) It is this life that determines your future occupancy v26
6) That final state is fixed and unalterable v26
7) There is sufficient warning in Scripture Gospel to leave men without excuse v31