Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Heaven part 8: New Earth part 3

I have heard it said that there will be no more sun and moon when we reach the New Earth. I'm not sure if the people literally mean there will be no more sun and moon or not.

The Word of God says, "And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof","And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign forever and ever" (Revelations 21:23,22:5).

Notice in both these verses the Word does not say that there is no sun or moon. What they say is there is NO NEED for them. The word no in Greek is an absolutely negative. It's a strong NO! The word need in Greek is chreia. It means, "employment, that is, an affair; also (by implication) occasion, demand, requirement or destitution" (Strongs).

So God is saying in His Word exactly what He means. We will have no need for the sun or the moon because the Glory of God will outshine them thus the sun and moon will be "retired" from they're "employment" as lights. The Word does not say they are gone which leads me to the next verse I would like to look at.

Maybe there is a new sun and moon. "And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful" (Revelations 21:5). Jesus Himself says He is going to make all things new. I wondered if it were just the New Heavens and New Earth He was talking about so I looked up pas which is the Greek for all. It means all, any, every, the whole. It's is used in the New Testament over 1200 times. 975 of those times it is rendered as all. 168 times it is rendered every. Seems to me that Jesus means EVERYTHING!

But then where was He when He said this? " And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful" (Revelations 21:3-5).

Jesus was still in the Heaven when He spoke that He was making all things new. Was He saying this just about the New Earth? I don't think so. Even if the sun and moon remain I think the laws of nature that God set in place to govern them will be changed upon creation of the New Earth.

Matthew Henry's Commentary says, " I saw a new heaven and a new earth; that is, a new universe; for we suppose the world to be made up of heaven and earth". Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible says, "A new heaven and new earth Rev_21:1, and an order of things to correspond with that new creation. The former state of things when sin and death reigned will be changed, and the change consequent on this must extend to everything".

Of course there are commentaries that say it's only a New Earth Jesus is speaking of but I think I agree with Barnes. There must be a new order. New laws set forth. Just think, we won't die, no night, the tree of life yields fruit every month....does this mean it's perpetual spring? No more seasons?

Were going to look some more at the tree of life in the next post. I think that will be the last of this series on Heaven.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Thinking about my testimony.

Shortly after I got saved I learned to not give my testimony. In life I never do. My wife has even told me it's better not too, or at least not to fully give it. I wrote it out here (see link to right) and placed it for all to read fully expecting what has always been the typical response. That hasn't happened but I have recently heard, yet again, that the events in my life are not possible because "God does not work that way anymore". It has me thinking.

I never claim to see a "blinding light". I don't say I saw "Jesus". I remember one night in my life more fully than I can remember anything else that has ever happened to me. I'll never be able to fully articulate it. I have analyzed it a zillion times in my mind. I have even debated a couple times with people who told me it didn't or couldn't happen. I will never do that again.

My first wife was a HUGE Startrek fan. I have never liked the show. I pretty much despised it since I pretty much hated everything about our marriage. Captain John Luke Picard of the Starship Enterprise stood on some stairs in a dream I had. The stairs went nowhere, not clouds, not a "blinding light", not anything. I was only aware that they went out of sight. Like looking at a road going into the horizon. He was motioning me to join him.

I have never learned to swim. The stairs started from water. It was arctic water. I was struggling to jump from one piece of ice to the next to get to the stairs. I wasn't going to make it. Part of me was wondering why I wanted to. I hated this man. I missed a jump and plunged into the water. It was cold and black. I awoke terrified.

There was a presence in my room. I didn't see anyone. I didn't see anything. I just knew that somebody had been there and that the presence left which left me even more scared. I ran to the kitchen. I stood there fully aware that Jesus had just removed His calling from my life. I knew what it was going to be like to not feel God working around me anymore. I was not aware that God was working around me till I felt that it was gone.

I stood in the kitchen for a very long time. It was hell. I was dead. Death in the Bible is separation from God. I didn't know that then. What I knew is I was separated and that I had a choice. I could continue on and would always be separated or I could come to Jesus. It was Jesus who had been motioning to me in my dream. It was Jesus who had been in my room. It was Jesus who had withdrawn Himself. It was Jesus I must find!

People can say what they will. I know what I know and that's all that I know. I know it so strongly that once I got a whole bunch of God's Word in me I never once doubted I was saved in my rampage after my divorce. It was because I was saved I had to try so very hard to get wasted. Where before I did everything without much thought I now did everything in anger at God. Where before I thought I might want to die I now hoped to "accidentally" overdose or drink myself to death or stumble in front of a car or wreck my own or whatever....just as long as it wasn't suicide and Jesus took me home, which I KNEW He would do. But He didn't. I'm still alive.

The dream was not my only event though. After the dream I read the whole bible in about a week. I was reading it a second time and was in Proverbs somewhere when I knew I wanted something. I had already heard my dream wasn't possible. I knew the Word was so alive! Everything was blazing truth and I had this whole big, huge, understanding, that people were blowing off and I was so wanting something. I wanted proof. I wanted salvation. I wanted Jesus. I wanted God. I wanted truth. I wanted to know. I wanted everything and I wanted it right now. Right then. Right when I was reading instead of working. Right there hidden in the back of a warehouse. I wanted something to happen......and it did.

It is because of these two experiences that I stay silent when asked about my "salvation experience". There is two extremes in response and I don't like either. I don't know why Jesus worked this way in my life. I have questioned it to death and now I simply let it rest. I write here because I can. It's on my mind and it's my blog......that didn't come out right.....oh well, sorry.

I don't want to know why Jesus saved me the way He did. I don't want to debate it. I don't want to explain it. I know what I know and that's all that I know. Now I simply want to enjoy the gift that has been given me.

My relationship with Jesus is on an intimate level I can never explain. I have gotten angry with Him and tried to run. I have been so close I curled up in His arms. I have tried to ignore Him. I have tried to absorb Him. I have gone without talking to Him and then I feel like I am always talking to Him, after all, He knows my every thought. I am always aware of Him around me. I have a peace that drives my wife crazy. I can't be bothered with my past anymore. I don't even know how to worry about tomorrow. I feel infinitely bad about sins in my life and yet I know they have already been forgiven. My relationship with Jesus is as complex and personal as any I have with my mom, dad, wife, and/or anyone. I often see how I abuse Him as I have those I have loved. I know there is a purpose for me. It is in that purpose I find a possible reason for the way Jesus dramatically entered my life. Maybe it was so that I would never ever waiver in my faith. I have fell in a great many ways but I have never once ever even come remotely close to doubting I'm saved and that Jesus is here and He is real and He loves me and YOU and nothing that you or I or anybody or anything can ever say or do will ever change that.

THANK YOU JESUS! I think I might cry.......

Heaven part 7: New Earth part 2

Since I left off with the River of Life I thought I would pick up there too, or at least the verse it is mentioned in. I have a list of things I wish to cover that I wrote for myself in no particular order and I'm going through them in no particular order.

"And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations" (Revelations 22:1-2).

There is so much going on in this one verse. I could elaborate on the fact the throne of the Father and of the Son is further proof that Jesus is God. I could talk about the fact that Eden had one tree of life and this verse clearly indicates three for us in Heaven. There is numerous things that one can pull out of this verse but it is the nations I wish to look into.

The word used for nations in Greek is ethnos. It is used over 150 times in the New testament. In most cases it is rendered as Gentiles which is anyone other than the Jews, or, any other nation. When it is not rendered Gentiles it is always rendered as nation. Ethnos means, "a race (as of the same habit), that is, a tribe; specifically a foreign (non-Jewish) one (usually by implication pagan): - Gentile, heathen, nation, people" (Strongs).

Why is it that in most pictures of "heaven" everyone is white? I have been to the flea market and seen pictures where everyone in "heaven" is black. Why? I believe the Jehovah Witnesses to be a cult but have you ever seen their picture of paradise? They always show all races, all colors, all people, standing together in a perfect paradise and this, to me, seems to be what is indicated in Revelations 22:2.

God created each person exactly as He wanted them. This includes nationality and skin color. Revelations 22:2 says to me that different races of people will occupy Heaven. Imagine, no more racism. Everyone equal.

God is pretty big on names. Every name in the bible has specific meanings. We all will receive new names in Heaven. I wonder if nations will have names. Not names of division as we have now but names of reference. I think I would be happy to run to China to pick up some stirfry for Jesus to multiply, which leads me to the next thing I wish to discuss.

I don't have any verses in the Word of God for this topic. It's merely my speculation but I hope that when we reach Heaven we still can be creative. I don't want to magically have food poof into existence for me. I want to have all eternity to learn to cook and paint and play music and dance and sing and learn everything about everything and use my imagination to make beautiful things I can offer to Jesus and have Him tell me how much He enjoys everything and I can tell Him how much I love Him for dying to let me bring these things to Him.

Of course we will have all eternity to do these things since "there shall be no more curse" (Revelations 22:3) but that verse is next post.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Heaven part 6: New Earth part 1

I have to this point let everyone think I would sum up the our final abode, New Earth/Heaven, by comparing it to the Garden of Eden. There is one problem with this comparison though. Our final destination will be so far better than Eden that there really is no comparison. So instead of comparing I would like to contrast the two.

In Eden God's presence was with man but He did not dwell with them. It appears that His presence could be withdrawn as Adam and Eve heard the Lord walking in the garden which seems to indicate that God had been away or at least in Adam and Eves mind He was.

When we reach the New Earth "the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God" (Revelation 21:3). God Himself will dwell with us! This seems to indicate that God the Father is with us! I know I dream of seeing Jesus! Don't you? My mind just goes off spinning into places I can't begin to comprehend when I think of God the Father dwelling with us. I bet we all fully understand the Trinity then!

In Eden I believe there was pain. There is a difference between being sinless (not knowing the difference between good and evil) and being without the normal problems of a physical existence. An infant does not know the difference between good and evil, but he or she certainly experiences pain and struggles in life. I submit that the fall did not bring pain but multiplied it. I bet Jesus hit His thumb with a hammer, stubbed his toe and/or got sore from hard work, etcetera, and yet was without sin. Not to say Jesus didn't know the difference between good and evil. I'm simply saying one can experience pain without sin.

In man's case, the normal activities of humans were commanded by God. Man was told to "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every thing that moves on the earth" (Genesis 1:28). All of those things require man and woman to work. You cannot have dominion and subdue things without effort and work.

Not convinced there was pain? Eve was told, "I will greatly increase your pain in child bearing" (Genesis 3:16). To increase her pain there must have been pain to begin with. Pain was a good thing before the fall. It prevents us from further injury and/or dangerous situations. Put your hand to flame, it's hot, jerk back.

When we reach the New Earth there will not be any more pain (Revelation 21:4). The implications of this are mind boggling. No more dangerous situations. Nothing that can hurt us. Just let your mind wander. I'm sure you can think of things.

Eden had seas. "The gathering together of the waters called he Seas" (Genesis 1:10). The New Earth has "no more sea" (Revelation 21:1).

Why do you suppose that is? I have read that it is because seas waste space and thus the New Earth will be fully inhabitable. I think this is a great answer. I would like to expand on it a bit.

I wonder if perhaps we confuse sea with ocean. In Genesis the word for seas in Hebrew is yawm. It is "from an unused root meaning to roar; a sea (as breaking in noisy surf) or large body of water; specifically (with the article) the Mediterranean; sometimes a large river, or an artificial basin" (Strongs).

Is it possible that there were no oceans till after the flood? In revelations 21:1 the Greek word for sea is halce. It is "A primary word; salt: - salt." (Strongs)

I think the New Earth will have large bodies of water, just not oceans. I think further evidence of this can be found in the fact that Eden did not experience rain (Genesis 2:5-6). Rain causes erosion which results in minerals running into the ocean were they are gathered to produce salt water. Now think of the rapid run off from a world wide flood and the resulting erosion and minerals deposited to create the ocean's.

I don't think it will rain on the New Earth. I don't think there will be any erosion. I think a mist will go up to water the New Earth (Genesis 2:6) which leads me to the next contrast.

In Eden there was not a River of Life! Perhaps there will be no need for a mist to go up to water the New Earth since there will be "a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb" (Revelations 22:1). Also note Genesis 2:10, "a river went out of Eden to water the garden", but not the River of Life.

I had thought that I could wrap up this study of Heaven in a couple more post. I am beginning to think it will be a bit longer than that. I am sure everyone who reads this can think of many things I have yet to get too.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

What should I write about?

After I finish up the Heaven series I don't really have any ideas of what I want to do next.

Any suggestions?

What interest you? What would you like to know about? Does anyone have any questions about anything that is written here at Deeper Truth? Got questions about my testimony? I'm transparent. Ask away.

I want to know about you! Who is it that comes here? I know there is a couple pastors, a couple teens, I think a few housewives, at least one collage student.....What about the rest of you? What are all of you doing out there in the world?

What can I do from my little corner of the world to reach out and touch you?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Heaven part 5 (John 14 )

MY DISCLAIMER: Believe what you will about Revelations. There is three things I will probably never enter into debate on. Revelations and/or the "end times", politics, and music.

Having said that....

I thought I might address John chapter 14 in the post I have yet to get to about what the New Earth/Heaven will be like. However, something intrigued me in Plain Truth magazine and Gordon's comments in the previous post have changed my mind.

There is an artical in the March/April 2006 issue of Plain Truth entitled Figuratively Speaking by John L. Bray. I found it highly amusing. I feel the writer unitentialy confirms the the literal translation of the new Jerusalem in his attempt to "show the fallacy of using literal interpretations for the symbolic language in the book of Revelation". The author also provides an excellent way to explain at least part of John 14, albeit, I'm sure he did not mean for me or anyone else to see the connection.

Mr. Bray states that there is an estimated 2,000,000,000 Christians. "To allow seven square feet per person for all 2,000,000,000 Christians, it would take 14,000,000,000 square feet. A square mile is 27,878,400 square feet (5,280 X 5,280). 14,000,000,000 square feet equals 502.18 square miles.

For all Christians, if all were in heaven today, it would take 502 sqare miles, or a space of about 22.5 miles long and 22.5 miles wide, for all to be seated in one area. (This does not count all Christians who have died.)"

Jesus said in Revelations 3:21, "To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame and have sat down with My Father in His throne." Mr. Bray misinterpets this verse and implies that we sit with Jesus ON his throne.

"Using my figures, if all Christians are in Christ, then Jesus is going to have to enlarge his throne so that it will be at least 22.5 miles wide and 22.5 miles long, in order for all Christians to sit with him in his throne." He goes on to imply that the throne itself is not real.

Now let me introduce you to what Jesus has been prepairing for us. John chapter 14 tells us that Jesus went to prepair a place for us. Go read it! Revelation 21:1-2,10 tells us about the new Jerusalem comming down out of Heaven. Where is Jesus? I would like to submit that Jesus has been prepairing the new Jerusalem. "I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven, PREPARED as a bride adorned for her Husband" (Revelation 21:2).

Mr. Bray throws out some pretty big figures doesn't he? I think he would like to boggle our minds with these huge numbers. God is not impressed. Jesus has been working on a city that has a perimeter of 1500 miles. Since New Jerusalem is laid out as a square, this means that each side of New Jerusalem is 375 miles long. In summary, New Jerusalem has an area of 140,625 square miles, or 90 million acres. These are VERY conservative figures. I believe this figure much more accurate, ...The New Jerusalem's dimensions are 1,500 miles equally in every direction or an area of 2,250,000 square miles. We will work with the MUCH smaller figures though for this study.

502 square miles would be a small park in this city. 22.5 miles long and 22.5 miles wide for just the Christians living today would occupy a fraction of the space of 140,625 square miles. 502 square miles fit in the new Jerusalem roughly 280 times! This means that if you "allow seven square feet per person" 560,000,000,000 people could fit in new Jerusalem. Now Click Here. Then come right back here!

Did you see that? It was the entire population of the world right now. Some people estimate that 96,100,000,000 people have lived on the earth. Now check this out. New Jerusalem could hold 560,000,000,000 people. That means that there is room for 463,900,000,000 after you put the entire population of everyone who has ever lived on planet earth in the it!! Remember, this is the smallest possible estimation of the size of new Jerusalem!!

I ask you, Is it any wonder Jesus said, "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2)? Jesus is prepairing a city that can hold everyone who has ever lived FIVE TIMES OVER but not everyone who has ever lived will be in it. Can you say MANY MANSIONS? And remember, We are working with a very conservative estimate of the size of new Jerusalem. To use what I believe is the actual size is.....well....beyond words.

Mr. Bray is wrong. The Bible is the Word of God. What God says, God can do! Mr. Bray says to "get your reservation in early if you want a good seat!". Don't worry, Jesus promised me that He went to prepair a mansion for me. I CHOOSE TO BELIEVE HIM!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Heaven part 4 (questions)

This post is in answer to Magi and Gordon's comments on the previous post. It started getting long so I decided to make it a part of the Heaven series. I definatly recomend looking at they're comments before reading this post.

What's interesting about the New Earth is that everyone places it after the end of this one. It is what I did too, but, I have considered it already exsisting. The problem with this is that although God is not confined by time, we are.

Time losses it's grip on us in eternity but things still happen for us in a sequential order. We are not like God who is omnipresent. Omnipresence is the ability to be present in every place at any, and/or every, time. That is something none of us will ever be and/or able to do. Let's look at angels as an example.

Angels experience things in a sequential order. They watch this age unfolding. They watch the movements of time. "[The purpose is] that through the church the complicated, many-sided wisdom of God in all its infinite variety {and} innumerable aspects might now be made known to the angelic rulers and authorities (principalities and powers) in the heavenly sphere" (Amp.B. Epesians 3:10). "For it seems to me that God has made an exhibit of us... For we have become a spectacle to the world [a show in the world's amphitheater] with both men and angels [as spectators]" (Amp.B. 1 Corinthians 4:9).

I do believe there is day of judgment. My belief in that further solidifies my postition that there must be a temporary "heaven" and "hell". I firmly believe that everyone that is dead in Christ right now is indeed with Him. I also firmly believe that they are waiting. "[He planned] for the maturity of the times {and} the climax of the ages to unify all things {and} head them up {and} consummate them in Christ, [both] things in heaven and things on the earth" (Amp.B. Ephesians 1:10).

Those who are dead in Christ are waiting with Him for the maturity of the times here on good old planet earth, the climax of the ages, when God will unify everything. I believe that unification takes place at one point. At one time. In one place. To say that each of us immediately goto that place makes the judgment happen repeatedly or we sit and wait before the throne for everyone to either die or the "end times" to complete.

As an example of waiting for the "end times" to complete I submit these verses, "And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season" (Revelations 6:9-11). The only point I want to make out of that verse is that those slain were told to wait. Once again, let's not get into a discussion of the "end times". The point here is they were told to wait.

All of creation is unfolding towards a single event.

"And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Revelations 20:11-15).

In the fulness of time God brings all and all before Him. "For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God" (Romans 14:11). The dead in Christ come. The dead in hell come. There simply must be a temporary "heaven" and "hell". Once again, whether we are alive or dead everything happens in a sequential order for us. It appears to me that the Great White Throne Judgment must happen before the New Earth is created. The dead in Christ are with Jesus right now in paradise just like He said. It's just not theirs and it's not our final destination.

Which leads me to Luke 16:19-31. "The Talmud is a record of rabbinic discussions on Jewish law, Jewish ethics, customs, legends and stories, which Jewish tradition considers authoritative" (From Wikipedia). The Talmud teaches that there is a division in the after life. "Abraham's bosom (Luke 16:22,23) refers to the custom of reclining on couches at the dining table, which was prevalent among the Jews, an arrangement which brought the head of one person almost into the bosom of the one who sat or reclined above him. To "be in Abraham's bosom" thus meant to enjoy happiness and rest (Matthew 8:11; Luke 16:23) at the banquet in Paradise. Abraham's bosom is said to be the waiting place for those who "lived by faith" in Yahweh, but died before the coming of Christ; sometime during the three days between the Crucifixion of Christ and His Resurrection, Jesus descended into the realm of the dead and retrieved those in Abraham's bosom" (From Wikipedia).

I believe Jesus did do exactly as described above. "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matthew 12:40). I believe that Jesus told those in Abraham's bosom that He was the fulfilment of prophecy, that He was who they had been waiting for. I believe He took them with Him to.....I don't know....It's tricky. I do know why He took them though. I do know why they were waiting for Him.

Jesus took those in Abraham's bosom because He defeated death. What is death? It's a seperations from God. Those in Abraham's bosom although in "paradise" where still under law and still seperated from God. Grace had not yet come to them. They were "dead" in their sins. When Jesus came to them, Grace came to them, Salvation came to them.....The seperation ended and they went with Jesus. "Therefore He says, "When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive and gave gifts to men." (Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the same also as He who ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.) (Epesians 4:8-10).

This is further evidence that when we die we experience things sequentially. If the dead in Abraham's bosom coud have jumped forward to Jesus they would not have needed to be in Abraham's bosom. They would have gone straight to Jesus and then to the New Earth. It did not happen that way for them and it will not happen that way for us. There is a temporary "heaven" and "hell".

Heaven part 3 (a hurdle)

It has been the intention of this series to clear up misconceptions of what Heaven is really like. It is at this point in our discussion of Heaven that things get tricky. There is a hurdle I must get us over. We might take a peak at paradise but I think the good look I promised will have to be put off till next post, sorry.

Heaven is not "in the clouds". That is unbiblical. The belief that we will be "spirits floating around in Heaven" is unbiblical. See 1 Corinthians 15:35-58.

So where is Heaven and were do we go when we die? As I said, this is the tricky part, but first, let us set aside whatever our believes may be of the "end times". This is not an "end times" discussionssion. What I want to focus on is after the "end times". We might dispute how we get to the point I wish to take us but the point we are going to is without dispute.

After the end times, the current "heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up" (2 Peter 3:10) replaced by the New Heavens and New Earth. The eternal dwelling place of believers will be the New Earth. The New Earth is the "Heaven" on which we will spend eternity. It is the New Earth that is paradise.

"So what's so tricky about that Michael?" Well, here is the hurdle, were do we go now when we die? For believers, after death is to be absent from the body and present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Philippians 1:23). For unbelievers, after death means everlasting punishment in Hell (Luke 16:22-23). Without any absolute bible verse to say I believe that we can put the puzzle together of where we go when we die.

To be absent from the body and present with the Lord means that we are in paradise (paradeisos). Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, Today you shall be with Me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43). I think it is safe to say then that until the final resurrection, after death a person resides in a "temporary" Heaven (paradise) and Hell. At some point after death, believers will be sent to the New Heavens (a new atmosphere) and New Earth (Heaven/Paradise)(Revelation 21:1). At some point after death, unbelievers will be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15). These are the final, eternal destinations of all people. Where will you go? If you do not know Click Here.

Unless I think of something else, in the next post we will take that good look at paradise and what the New Earth will be like.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Heaven part 2

In Luke 23:43, Jesus declared, "Truly I say to you, Today you shall be with Me in Paradise". The word Jesus used for paradise is paradeisos which means "a park, that is, (specifically) an Eden (place of future happiness, paradise)".

What did that say? An Eden? Where was the last place that man and God walked together? Here's a hint, Adam and Eve were in it.

Man was designed to live forever in paradeisos (paradise). Paradeisos is the a Greek word taken from the Hebrew word pardes which means "a park: - forest, orchard". God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Sin entered in and caused the fellowship to break. Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden and man has never been back since. This is not how God wants it to be.

Jesus said "Today you shall be with Me "en paradeisos" not "en nephele" which is Greek for in clouds. Heaven is not some fluffy cloud place but heaven is indeed a place. Heaven is a real place.

Jesus said He was going to "leave the world and go to the Father" (John 16:28). When the Creator of the universe hanged on that cross for our sins He could have chosen any word in any of the languages He created. Jesus picked and used the word for a park and it's not just any park, forest, and/or orchard but "the paradise (paradeisos) of God" (Revelations 2:7). That is where the Father was and that is where Jesus is now, paradeisos, which for us will be a place of future happiness.

In the next post we'll take a good look at paradise.

Heaven part 1

What do you think of when you think of heaven? Pearly gates? Streets of gold? I'm sorry to inform you but this is NOT heaven.

"What? What is that you say Michael? All my life I have heard heaven has streets of gold. All my life I heard I was going to arrive at the pearly gates."

Yep, I know. Me too. All our lives we have been wrong.

"And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of Heaven from God" (Revelation 21:10)

See that word descending? Keep it in mind.

"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" (Revelation 21:1-2)

Let's take these verses apart now. John saw a NEW heaven and a NEW earth. Ours had passed away. On the NEW earth "John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven".

Notice that the new Jerusalem was coming down OUT of heaven. It is the new Jerusalem that we get our ideas of streets of gold and pearly gates. The city has these things. Heaven does not.

The original Greek word used for descending in Rev. 21:1o and for coming down in Rev. 21:2 is
katabainō. It means, "to descend (literally or figuratively)".

"So maybe it's just figuratively descending then Michael".

Nope. Let's check it out.

The word katabainō is used 80 times in the New Testament. Everytime it means exactly what it means in these two verses.

In John 6:51, "I am the living bread which CAME DOWN from heaven".
In Mark 15:30, "Save thyself, and COME DOWN from the cross".

Did Jesus figuratively come down from heaven? Were the people challenging Him to figuratively come down from the cross?

Luke 22:44, "And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood FALLING DOWN to the ground".

80 times in 80 verses. ALWAYS THE SAME!

Heaven is NOT the new Jerusalem. The new Jerusalem descends from heaven to the new earth. It does not matter if the heaven spoken of is our atmosphere or the heaven God is in. The point is that it descends and it is a city, not heaven. Personally I think it descends from Heaven where God is. I suppose it goes through our atmosphere "new heavens" but I'm pretty sure it's coming down straight from God. The verses imply that John after being taken to the great mountain saw the city descending from where he just was, which was Heaven.

In my next post we will look at what exactly heaven is.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Were all a bunch of sinners!

In a couple places on a couple blogs I have mentioned not only am I a sinner but that I sin everyday and am going to sin some more. Of course I don't believe I presented it exactly like I'm saying it here but that seems to be exactly how it has been taken.

I have decided to say what I mean when I express that I am indeed a sinner that sins often.

You have sinned today!

No? Carefull. Your answer could be a sin.

I bet you have sinned. I almost know you have. Why do I say this? Well, if it were possible for you to live one day sin free it would be possible for you live everyday sin free. I don't think that is possible. If you disagree then I guess you can walk on water too? Let's check it out.

I bet I can eliminate most everybody with one question. Did you drive today? Think it through here. Hmmmm.....Well, maybe a couple questions then. Did you do the speed limit all the time, everywhere? Did you come to a complete stop at that stop sign? Did you follow the legal distance from the car in front of you? Did you use your blinkers?

Every person should obey the government in power (Romans 13:1). Are you sure you followed every single driving rule? If you did then I know exactly what your sin is. It's in your mind.

I bet your pretty tired of all those people tail gating you aren't you? Tired of them flying by. Tired of the endless angry looks. I bet you have some choice words you have at least thought about for that guy that just wouldn't get off your butt and then flew by with nasty looks.

If your really obeying every law then your most likely holding up traffic which in itself is against the law. Did you pull over to let that chain of cars go by?

So what's my point? My point is I'm a sinner! Your a sinner! Were all a bunch of sinners! The example given was just driving down the road. Need I go into surfing around the internet? Eyes linger a little too long on some sexy thing? What about us all writing in our blogs. Ever get a little prideful? Never? How about jealous? Not even a little? Some blogs are pretty popular. Wouldn't you like yours to be too?

"Well Michael, I sat at home yesterday and read my bible all day long. I didn't turn the TV on. I didn't see anyone. I prayed and meditated on God's Word all day! Certainly I didn't sin."

Are you sure? Are you proud you did that? You never once strayed in thought? Was it a work or was it out of love? Was there something you were avoiding? God would rather have you go help somebody than hide in your house under the pretense of studying.

For those of us who have a past of mass sin it's even tougher I think. Memories come out of nowhere. Did you linger on it? Did you wish you could go back there? Did you miss it? Carefull, your entering into a no mans land. Sin follows closely on those memories.

Were all a bunch of sinners! Everyday! All the time! You are going to sin again. You might just have. You might have just read this line and told a lie. Think about it. You'll get it.

Monday, March 06, 2006

A Shout Out!

I simply wanted to give a shout out to Lorraine . She commented on my short story so I checked her site out. She is a young girl I found out that seems to need some encouraging words. She reminds me a lot of myself in that she self analyzes herself to shreds. It's in all her writing.

So Lorraine, if your reading this, I might not know the right things to say but I do know that from what I have read you are a very lucky, smart, ambitious, and pretty girl. I think you should lighten up on yourself. Don't apologize for your writing. It is who you are. Don't apologize for being yourself.

I thank you for your kind words. They have encouraged me to pull out my folder of old writings and post a couple poems. I hope that something here encourages you and if not here then I pray that God will bring somebody to this post that knows exactly what you need to hear.

Long Distance Connections

Holding you close
Close to my heart
Though not together
Were still not apart

You have touched me
Heart and soul
I feel loved
Were ever I go

Two as one
Your part of me
Love binds us
For eternity

At one time I fancied myself a poet. I was going to write a book called At The End Of A Rainbow.

I once looked far and wide
and found a rainbow in the sky.

So off to the end
I did go
In search for the gold
beneath the rainbow.

But when I arrived,
I discovered something more precious than gold.
I found your love,
at the end of the rainbow.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Backrow

Today at church a man brought in several of his family members.

A woman said, "Boy! You brought your crew with you didn't you?".

He said, "Yep, I would have brought more but there ain't no more backrows!".

Saturday, March 04, 2006

I'm A Biblicist!

I found this line of text interesting...

In answer to those who say "the truth lies between Calvinism and Arminianism," Spurgeon replied: "It does not; there is nothing between them but a barren wilderness."

I guess that makes God's Word a barren wilderness cause that is were the truth lies.

Oh! But wait, the same article says I'm going to make somebody mad by saying that....

"To those Baptists who accept the Bible as the final authority instead of the philosophical speculations and theological implications of Calvinism or Arminianism the Calvinist reserves the most scorn. To call oneself a "Biblicist," instead of either a Calvinist or an Arminian, although it is particularly offensive to the adherents of both systems because it correctly implies that they are both unbiblical".

I'm sorry to offend if that statement is true.

Click Here for article

A Short Story

My Lord and I walked one day out upon the deep, and taking a few steps away,
the Lord asked, "What do you see?".

"I see only you in your glory", I replied.

The Lord took my hand and together we walked on when He said, "Do you see the waves upon the deep where we tread?".
"Yes my Lord", I replied.
"The deep is my Word.", He said taking a few steps away. "Now what do you see?".
"I see you in your glory supported by the Word." I said.
"Are not the waves supported by the deep too? Do they not move about upon it spilling over into each other and merging to move on stronger than before?".

My Lord and I walked on together.
"Do you see the Son?" My Lord asked.
"Yes my Lord" I replied.
"The Son warms the air over the deep which causes winds to churn up the waves upon it". The Lord stepped away, "Now tell me what you see".
"I see the Son in your divine glory supported by the word in the wind that directs the waves".

The Lord said, "See how the waves move about in all directions, these are my children and each is supported by the Word though no two are the same or will lead the same course as directed by the wind which is the Spirit".
"Now tell me what you see".

"I see the Son in your glory supported by the Word overlooking your children in the Spirit that guides them".

"Do the waves know how far below the deep extends? They can not. The waves reach into the deep and the wind directs them to form currents which are constantly changing and never ending but the deepest currents are not made by waves but by the hand of God".

"I do not understand my Lord" I said.

"Only the Father understands the movements of the deep until the Son calls the waves home when all will know the glory that is in the Word".

"I do not understand Father" I said.

My Lord stepped back, "What do you see?".

"I see the Son in your glory supported by the deep which is the Word as directed by the Father over your children who reach for the Father guided by the wind which is the Spirit that the Son is in".

My Lord put his arm around me, "Do you trust the Son?".

"Yes Lord, with all my heart".

"Then you understand as much as any of my children can".

Thursday, March 02, 2006

My Testimony

I suppose my very first memory of life is a drug memory. Crazy hu? I was 3 and we were going to move. I had built a fort out of boxes and thought it would be great to eat all my Flinstone chewable vitamins. Something said that was wrong so I put them back.
My first memory of God I think is when I went to visit an uncle of mine. I think I might have been 7. He lived on a farm. It was a self contained community of believers. They had a small school house, a community kitchen, and did most everything together. I didn't much care for it. I got my mouth washed out with soup for using the Lords name in vain to many times even though I'm pretty sure it was Gosh and not God I was saying but oh well. The whole experience literally left a bad taste in my mouth. Except one thing. There was a massive white cross on top of a big hill that I could walk up too and sit under. That was great. Don't really remember why it was great. I just remember it being quite and I could see anyone coming up on me.
My mom and dad got divorced when I was 10 or so. My dad married the wicked witch of the west and no matter how much water I threw on her she wouldn't melt. Didn't last long but during that time I hated coming home so I didn't. I got a paper route in 6th grade which ended at a friends house. That friend and I got stoned at recess under the slide one day. I loved it!
Somewhere around that time my dad came home with one of those Map of the End Times fold out things. Somebody at work had convinced him the world was going to end I guess. We had a big old bible and we looked at some stuff. It was all pretty interesting stuff. Not sure whatever happened with all that as far as my dad goes but I obtained The Book and read the New Testament. I started having Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses come over and I'd drill them. I got them both to come over at the same time one day. I think that was the first time I realized that not all Christian religions were the same.
Some dude I don't quite remember told me the Mormons were a cult. Seemed reasonable to me. The Book of Mormon was an entirely ridiculous read. Everyone from the Jehovah Witnesses were old so they eliminated themselves by not relating to me. I suppose I could have been indoctrinated into they're cult pretty easy had they sent someone younger.
By the end of 7th grade I wasn't thinking nothing about God anymore. I was in full on party mode. The roller skating rink was the place to be then. I'd convince somebody or another to buy me some beer, chug a can, bend it up, poke some holes, and fire it up......pot that is.
Somewhere between 8th and 9th grade I know God tried to get my attention again. The only reason I say this is because I know exactly what distracted me. SEX! I discovered sex. I found out I had a knack for picking up girls or as I hear it's called today, I had game. Whatever the case was I know I was living sex, drugs, and rock n roll.
I discovered acid somewhere around this time. MDMA was just starting to pick up steam with the punk rockers but it was pretty hard to get. Hash came dipped in opium and as far as I was concerned this was the bomb. I'm pretty sure crack was around but I never liked any of the "go fast" drugs. I wanted to zone out. For some reason I have never been to sure of I wanted to evacuate the world. I'm pretty sure I simply liked the high.
At 17 I think, just turned it, I flipped a car and that was a major turning point. No longer could I hide that I was all messed up. My dad and I began a strained relationship at that point that I only made worse by getting worse.
After flipping my car I tried God again. I attended a Pentecostal church for a bit but they kept telling me I needed to speak in tongues which I couldn't do so I figured God didn't want me. If He didn't want me then I certianly didn't want Him. I quit going to that church.
I dropped out of school at the start of 12th grade. Right before that I got busted for having hash in my locker and went to jail. I had just turned 18. I was only in there a couple days. I read the New Testament for like the 4th time in my life. I didn't do any of that pleading with God stuff.
I went to Job Core shortly after that. It was my first time to be out on my own. I was in Pre-appreciate Painting. I became a small time peddler of pot and probably would have been expelled except I beat them to the punch line and enrolled myself in the union so they graduated me.
I got my first job working on Husky Stadium and moved into a small apartment. I had to share the bathroom with the neighbor. It was one street up from Broadway in Seattle. Anyone that has heard the song My Posses on Broadway by Sir-Mix-A lot has heard where I was living. Broadway is a serious party strip for the collage. I met this chick who I thought was interested in me but she wanted me to come to a Scientology thing, so I went. That was some of the most seriously bogus stuff I have ever heard. Anyone that has ever tried to read Dianetics knows it's just a lot of really big words strung together to sound really intellectual. It's mumbo jumbo. Anyways, I wanted the girl so I signed up for the first class thing they do. Some deal where you were suppose to figure out which memories were repressing you. They sat me in a chair and handed me these two can things that had wires hanging out that were connected to some machine thing. They started asking me questions. I don't remember what. I know that the dude seemed overly interested in my first girl friend and me losing my virginity. I got fed up and demanded my money back. They gave me a lot of grief for nearly a week not wanting to give my money back so I finally made a big sign and stood in front of the place screaming at people that these people stole my money. A manager came down and gave me my money.
I got laid off which happens a lot in the union and I went to work on Water Front Park and the Seattle Aquarium. After that I got transferred to a job at the junior collage in my home town so I roomed up with some friends of mine and moved back cross the water to Bremerton where I was born and raised.
A Japanese guy was the foreman and he'd get really mad and yell at me in his native tonge. I told him to speak English or die and walked off. That was the end of working for the union.
I joined a magazine crew that goes around the U.S. selling magazines. I'm sure you've had them knock on your door. "Hi, I just came by to see you for a minute.....blah blah blah.....I'm in a contest and I could win _______ (fill in the blank)". Never buy anything from these people. There not in a contest. You probably won't get your magazine. If you pay them in cash they are heading straight to somebody that will buy them drugs or booze. I seriously partied on the road. We went everywhere. It was the first time I had left Washington state. I was on the road for nearly a year and covered something like 16 states. I got fired in Texas.
After the Greyhound ride home I didn't have much interest in staying in Washington so I enrolled in a welding school in Tucson Arizona and drove down there. I graduated at the age of 22. I drove over to St. Marys Georgia. Where my mom was stationed civil service at the sub base there. I wound up getting a girl pregnant and married her for all the wrong reasons.
I did stop drinking and drugging for awhile though. After my daughter was born I got serious about work for a bit. It didn't last long. My mom got transferred back to Washington and we went with her. Big mistake. Everything went south from there. We moved back down to Georgia were my wives parents were but the damage was done. I was worse than ever. Drinking practically nonstop. Moving back to Georgia sobered me up till we got out on our own which wasn't long. I went to work with a dedicated Mormon drug dealer. My wives parents were Mormons too. All I knew was Mormons were wack. It was constant friction.
Towards the end of that marriage as it was always in a state of decay from the start I went to work at a warehouse on the sub base. A guy there who was way friendly would listen to all my troubles with my marriage and stuff. I told him about the Mormon pressure. I told him about all my addictions. He kept telling me I needed Jesus. I was like, "been there, done that".
One night I had a dream. Captain John Luke Picard of the Starship Enterprise (I HATE STARTREK!!!) was motioning me to join him on some stairs. I awoke terrified. I ran out of the room, into the kitchen, and just stood there. I could feel one string running through the top middle of my head. That string held me up. I knew without a doubt that Jesus had just told me to decide and the thing that scared me was I knew that I knew that I knew it was my last chance. He wasn't going to call me anymore.
I went to work and asked the guy who had been witnessing to me if God still spoke to people. He was careful with his answer I realize in retrospect. He told me to go and ask Him if it was Him. So that's what I did. I walked out on the loading dock and told God if He had anything else to say I was listening.
I felt I should get a bible and so I did. I read the whole thing in a week. I started over. I was somewhere in Proverbs when I turned to God and asked if I was crazy. The Word seemed so alive. I felt compelled to read. I told God I needed to know if it was Him and if it was Him I wanted what I was reading about. I told Him if it was Him calling me then I was answering and He needed to come claim me.
Pentecostal people speak of a baptism of fire. That is as close as I can call what happened. I ranted on a bit like that when I was like "Just Do Something!"......And He did. I went to shaking. It felt like my whole body came alive with pin pricks. It scared me! I got up and ran down the isle (I was hiding back in the warehouse reading when I should have been working). The sensation intensified. I thought I might lift right off the ground. I was like, "Ok, Ok, It's enough! I got it! Great! Your real! Stop!".

Don't ask God to touch you if your not ready to feel it.

Nothing could stop me from joining a church. I hit the First Baptist Church of Kingsland Georgia like a whirlwind. Those people didn't know what happened. I called on a Wednesday and asked if I could come to church. They said they would be happy to have me. I walked in and announced that I had read the whole bible twice and God had saved my soul and I wanted to be baptised! I read dang near the whole library they had there. If the doors were open I was there. I questioned everything.
I totally stopped all drugs and drinking. I devoured the Word. I had read the N.A.S.B. twice so I went and got an N.I.V. and read it and then I figured I would try the King James since everybody kept telling me it was the Word of God. I didn't settle for any King James though. I got the Reese Chronological Bible and read it.
None of this mattered though. The damage to my marriage was done. My inlaws couldn't understand why I wouldn't come to the Mormon church. Everything fell apart.
I got divorced and got really, really mad at God. For about 3 years I jumped around the U.S. and drank and had endless amounts of sex. I wound up on my mom's living room floor.

The thing about trying to drink God out of your life is He is at the bottom of every bottle staring back up at you.

I was a miserable drunk now. I would get smashed and tell everyone "You know what we all really need is Jesus!". I am completely and totally convinced that when I get to heaven somebody is going to say that in my drunken preaching they realized something that lead them to Jesus.
I got a drunk driving at the age of 32 I think it was. I got sentenced to alcoholics anonymous. They said something about 90 meetings in 90 days. I figured I was twice as bad as anyone else so I did 180+ in 90 days. I hated everything about alcoholics anonymous. They are a cult in my opinion but one night I heard a distinctly southern accent outside a meeting so I walked up to talk to the girl. She blew me off.
I wasn't getting nothing out of anything. Everything meant nothing. I left one day and walked to a church. I spent the whole day in there crying and yelling at God. I was good and pissed off and it was His fault and He was going to hear about it. The strange thing is that several people came and left the sanctuary that day and it was like I was invisible and wasn't making a sound. People came in and practiced a song on the piano and I decided to test and see if anyone was paying attention to me. I screamed at God. Nobody noticed I was there. It was crazy! It made me even madder. I figured if God wasn't going to let anyone come and comfort me then I was going to let Him have it. I went all out with my rampage at Him. The second I ran out of steam my mom walked in and said she had been looking for me all day when something told her to check the church.
A day or so later I was at a restaurant after an A.A. meeting and that southern girl was sitting across from me. She wasn't paying me any attention and I didn't care about her at all, other than she was So Fine! I was all up on my high horse telling this guy the mojo thing he wore around his neck didn't have any kind of power much less a "higher power". I told him He needed Jesus just like I did.

The girl across the table interupted and said, "Ask me anything about the bible". That was the first words my wife ever spoke to me.

I tried to be funny. I asked, "Why couldn't Cain get his offering right?".....He just wasn't Abel. She didn't get it so I asked what the shortest verse in the bible was. She knew that and oh man was she proud of herself. I mean she lit up! We talked awhile.
She called me the next day and wanted to goto Seattle with me to some A.A. meetings I was going to check out. I had heard they had some real psychos that went to them. Remember, I HAD to goto meetings. I had this thing I had to get signed that showed I was at them.
My soon to be wife was in real bad shape. She came out of an abusive relationship and was strung out on cocaine and pills. I told her if she wanted to be with me she had to stop all powdered substances. She went to a rehab for like the 5th time in her life but she completed this one. That was the end of cocaine and pills. We both still drank and smoked pot though.
We packed up and went to Bainbridge Georgia. One thing led to another and we wound up in Phoenix Arizona staying with a friend of mine. I knew our relationship was going to self destruct. I had been down that path so I started working on her that we needed to get straight and go with God.
One night at her work a dude came in with a big Dirty Harry type handgun. She said all she could think about was, "Don't shoot! I'm going to hell!". She started having serious panics attacks after that. It was something I wasn't prepared to handle. She was all flipped out one night and asked me to pray. As far as I knew I hadn't "prayed" in forever but I did. I told God I knew He was more than capable of taking care of my wife and that I certainly was totally unable to do it. I told Him I couldn't even take care of myself and now He had given me this freaked out woman and I didn't know what to do.
My wife tells everyone that she felt the panic attack end right then. I know I saw a peace come over her. She felt relaxed instead of all tensed up. Right then and there Billy Graham came on the TV and my wife got saved. We left everything we had, which wasn't much, got in the car and drove straight through to Bainbridge and moved in with her mom. We have never drank or smoked pot again. A year later we both quit smoking cigarettes.
My wife is totally bible smart. She has devoured her bible numerous times. She Loves Jesus! I have done some preaching. Nothing much. Just a few times. I'm not sure what God has in store for us. I know I'm blowing up to serve and yet I do nothing much at all.
I'm 38 now. July is my birthday. My wife and I have been married 5 years this August. We have been clean and sober nearly 4 years or just over 3. I always get mixed up and my wife isn't here to ask (Yes, my memory is shot). I fought numerous court battles with my ex-wife and lost them all. I won't see my daughter until she is 18 (she's 14 now) and then only if she decides she wants to see me. It's the consequences of sin. I can accpet that. We have my wife's two girls, 8 and 9, and her son, 16, living with us. God has been faithful. He gave her back all she left behind to pursue sin. The girls love the Lord and were working on the boy.

Well, that's my life. See Ya and God Bless!